An opinion article titled “Pfizer, Sinopharm and Sputnik V – Orbán’s vaccine pluralism could catch on” – by Ivo Mijnssen appeared in the online edition of Neuer Zürcher Zeitung.
In his article, Mijnssen draws attention to the fact that Hungary wants to use Chinese and Russian vaccines in addition to the coronavirus vaccines approved by the EU.
“Any vaccination is better than living an unvaccinated life in danger,” the author quotes Hungary’s chief medical officer.
Mijnssen explains why Hungary pulled out of the European Union’s joint procurement strategy in November and has since granted emergency approval not only to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, but also to Sinopharm’s Chinese product.
Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás: “It is important to obtain vaccines from as many sources as possible in order to be able to vaccinate people as early as possible.”
There are plans for three to four million people in Hungary to be vaccinated by May, two million of them as early as March – Gulyás said at his usual press conference. Healthy people over 60 will be vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V in four vaccination centers in Budapest. The cabinet has bought two million doses of the Russian vaccine, and the first 500,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine will arrive next week, the minister announced.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that if the Russian and Chinese vaccines are approved, Austria will produce them within its borders. The Chancellor also emphasized that the most important thing at the moment is to get a safe vaccine as soon as possible. He added that he would allow himself to be inoculated with both Chinese and Russian vaccines. Still, as the prerequisite for this he called for their approval in Europe.
Germany also recently announced that if the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gives the green light for the new Russian vaccine, Sputnik V could soon be produced and used in Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union said at the beginning of the week in the ARD broadcast “show your colors”, that “every vaccine is welcome in the EU, but it will only be approved if the responsible EU authority, the EMA, has the necessary data for it”.
Meanwhile, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RFPI), which finances the development of Russian vaccines, has submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to register the Sputnik V vaccine.
Kirill Dmitrijev, CEO of RFPI, told the news television “Rosija 24” that he hopes registration in the EU will be checked quickly and that “no political arguments will be used in this process”. He reiterated that large-scale vaccine shipments to Europe could not begin until after the Russian population has been vaccinated, which could be due between May and June.
Featured photo illustration by Vivien Cher Benko/MTI/prime minister’s press office